Discrimination of a medial functional module within the temporal lobe using an effective connectivity model: A CCEP study

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The temporal lobe is classically divided in two functional systems: the ventral visual pathway and the medial temporal memory system. However, their functional separation has been challenged by studies suggesting that the medial temporal lobe could be best understood as an extension of the hierarchically organized ventral visual pathway. Our purpose was to investigate (i) whether cerebral regions within the temporal lobe could be grouped into distinct functional assemblies, and (ii) which regions were central within these functional assemblies. We studied low intensity and low frequency electrical stimulations (0.5 mA, 1 Hz, 4 ms) performed during sixteen pre-surgical intracerebral EEG investigations in patients with medically intractable temporal or temporo-occipital lobe epilepsies. Eleven regions of interest were delineated per anatomical landmarks such as gyri and sulci. Effective connectivity based on electrophysiological feature (amplitude) of cortico-cortical evoked potentials (CCEPs) was evaluated and subjected to graph metrics. The amplitudes discriminated one medial module where the hippocampus could act as a signal amplifier. Mean amplitudes of CCEPs in regions of the temporal lobe showed a generalized Pareto distribution of probability suggesting neural synchronies to be self-organized critically. Our description of effective interactions within the temporal lobe provides a regional electrophysiological model of effective connectivity which is discussed in the context of the current hypothesis of pattern completion.

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